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Guest Feature: Zeina Mohammed
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Next week, on June 14, the Lebanese parliament is scheduled to hold a vote for president. Lebanon has not had a president since October 2022. In fact, Lebanon has been run by a caretaker cabinet with limited powers since May 2022.
Some may be optimistic, I personally remain skeptical. But I think we can all agree, this has become a dangerous parody affecting the livelihoods of everyone living in the country. And it’s beyond embarrassing.
Who knows what next week will bring. At this point, does it matter?
Let’s get into this newsletter on a happier and lighter note! I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Zeina Mohammed!
Zeina is a Sudani journalist covering health equity and the maternal care crisis at the Boston Globe. Through her work, she explores systemic barriers faced by different communities aspiring to their fullest health and the innumerable ways they advocate for it through art, policy, and social movements. Before joining the Globe, Zeina covered climate justice, religion, and youth protest movements at POLITICO’s E&E News.
She is currently based in Cambridge, MA.
A journalist I truly respect and admire, Zeina has done incredible reporting and coverage of health care in Massachusetts—seriously, you should check out her stories right now. On top of that, after following her on Spotify, I know for a fact Zeina has an incredible taste in music. So when she agreed to be part of the newsletter, I was hype to see what some of her go-to songs were:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
Never Get Used To by Seinabo Sey is either playing in my headphones or in my head. Her voice is full enough to hold any emotion.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Big shout out to Zeina for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Zeina’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to follow Zeina on Twitter and keep up with all of her latest coverage here!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
MARGHREBIYA - TRIPLEGO
Mataha - Alyoungofficial featuring Randarofficial
Galbi - KasbaH, Bab, and Musique de Fête featuring Leila Koumiya
Before Iceberg - Stormy
Ergaa Ya Zaman - Doaa El Sebaii & Maher El Mallakh
3alamat - Hana Ghoneim featuring Andrew Mounir
Elsehab Btkheeb - Deep Eg
Piranha - Nahir featuring Vacra
Ya Baby - Omar Kamal featuring Sarah Al Zakaria
NURTURE - Thanks Joey & Niko Is
Velvet Sunset - Meryem Saci
Niheye - Nuj
D2i2a w Basal - Ziggy
Ala2 Ejtime3e - Sandy Henoud
Sera3 Nafsi - Moudy Al Arabe
Matjerneesh - DJIZA
Tamazgha United - DAK featuring Clemando, RARE, Ziyou, Trilliszn, Double Aitch, Samach, Zongo, and MC Pissco
WHERE’S MY IRIS - Lana Lubany
mekil atleh - 3li3bboud featuring Salloum
Wuhda Bel Million (Remix) - Nayomi featuring Felukah, Frizzy, Dareen, and TaffyRaps
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
El Cielo - Sky Rompiendo featuring Myke Towers and Feid
TUYA - ROSALÍA
Señales - Yami Safdie
Que me quiera - Greeicy
Miel - Los Aptos featuring Cuco
What U Want - Harmless
COCO LOCO - Maluma
CHUKI CHUKI - Esty
Veneno - Cyn Santana
Perdóname - Chiquito Team Band
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
nwayi - CKay
Day Date - Clavish
Popular - The Weeknd featuring Madonna and Playboy Carti
Who Told You? - J Hus featuring Drake
Cheat - Mahalia featuring JoJo
Girl Next Door - Tyla featuring Ayra Starr
Hollywood Bowl - Rob Grant featuring Lana Del Rey
Water Slide - Janelle Monáe
Counterfeit - Amaarae
Nasty - grouptherapy. featuring Jadagrace, TJOnline, and SWIM
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lebanon ‘took everything’ from them … but they can’t seem to let go - Lyanna Alameddine, L’Orient Today
Whether they live in London, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, the United States or Paris, homesickness continues to rend the hearts of Lebanese nationals who fled the crisis.
Foot-dragging over central bank chief underscores Lebanon dysfunction - Raya Jalabi, Financial Times
Country was grappling with a leadership vacuum and an economic collapse even before the arrest warrants for Riad Salameh.
Lebanon: Sharp increase of deaths in custody must be a wake-up call for authorities - Amnesty International
The sharp increase in custodial deaths must be a wake-up call to the Lebanese government that their prisons need urgent and drastic reform.
Beirut’s Sursock Museum reopens three years after port blast - Mia Alberti, Al Jazeera
The palatial modern art museum was badly damaged in the explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital.
In the mood for dancing: Lebanese nightlife booms in crisis - Rosabel Crean, L’Orient Today
Lebanon is in the midst of an economic downfall of historic proportions. Those with the means are turning to parties and nightlife to cope with the collapse.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
As Assad’s Isolation Lifts, Syrian Refugees Fear Pressure to Return Home - Raja Abdulrahim and Hwaida Saad, The New York Times
Arab countries re-establishing diplomatic ties with Syria are making repatriation of Syrian refugees a top priority. “Even if they shoot me, I won’t go back,” a refugee in Lebanon said.
Grieving a Lost Future in Sudan - Nehal El-Hadi, The Walrus
“I planned to return to my hometown of Khartoum one day. As it burns, I wonder if the city of my childhood ever really existed.”
Tunisian black women: ‘My skin colour says I don’t belong’ - Sandrine Lungumbu, BBC News
"In Tunisia people are always questioning the fact that I'm Tunisian," says activist Khawla Ksiksi, a Black Tunisian citizen.
The Ongoing Politicization of the Iraqi Artist - Joumana Altallal, 1001 Iraqi Thoughts
“Most Iraqi artists living in the country are rarely given sufficient support for their work, the least of which being non-partisan Iraqi-led and funded spaces that provide them the opportunity to share their work outside of the specter of foreign involvement.”
Architects in the Gulf Are Imagining Life After Air Conditioning - Mawa Koheji, New Lines Magazine
Mechanical cooling uses vast amounts of energy, but technical solutions and traditional architecture offer sustainable alternatives that are gaining ground.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
How alternative music in MENA is pioneering alternative voices to challenge and change the mainstream - Abeer Ayyoub, The New Arab
Alternative music has become increasingly popular in the MENA region and beyond as more young musicians opt to produce their own music independently rather than through commercial production companies, allowing them to be as expressive as they want.
Narcy’s Homecoming - Ahmed Habib, GQ Middle East
Following his long-awaited return to Iraq, NARCY reconnects with old friend and independent Iraqi platform ShakoMako co-founder, Ahmed Habib, as the two discuss the making of his final album.
Nourished by Time Is Dreaming of an Early ’90s R&B and Dance Utopia - Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Pitchfork
Atop exuberant beats, the Baltimore singer-songwriter Marcus Brown explores life’s indignities—heartbreak, capitalism, and where they intersect—with the tender heart of a poet.
Egypt: AI-generated Umm Kulthum voice sparks legal debate - Ayah El-Khaldi, Middle East Eye
Voice of legendary Egyptian diva 'singing' a new song is the latest AI debate about intellectual property.
America loved Tina Turner. But it wasn’t good to her. - Soraya Nadia McDonald, Andscape
The star escaped from her abuser, but the conditions that created him remain
📚 Other Reads 📚
As conservatives target schools, LGBTQ+ kids and students of color feel less safe - Annie Ma, Claudia Lauer, and Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press
As conservative politicians and activists push for limits on discussions of race, gender and sexuality, some students say the measures targeting aspects of their identity have made them less welcome in American schools — the one place all kids are supposed to feel safe.
ChatGPT Is Cutting Non-English Languages Out of the AI Revolution - Paresh Dave, WIRED
AI chatbots are less fluent in languages other than English, threatening to amplify existing bias in global commerce and innovation.
Smoke brings a warning: There’s no escaping climate’s threat to health - Dan Diamond, Joshua Partlow, Brady Dennis, and Emmanuel Felton
As plumes from Canadian wildfires move to the East Coast, officials and residents grapple with the worsening health risks of climate change.
Brothers, breadwinners, fathers: the lives lost in India’s train disaster - Aakash Hassan and Hannah Ellis-Petersen, The Guardian
Six days after the tragedy, the death toll stands at 288. Here are just a few of the victims’ stories.
CBP subjects migrants to grave reproductive injustices - Tina Vásquez, Prism
Recent complaints from advocacy organizations shed light on the inhumane treatment of migrants who are pregnant, postpartum, or nursing